Sniffly sneezy rat

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Is being sniffly and sneezy common in rats?

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Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by GillianK on Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:39 am

My 18 month old rat Blanche has been very sniffly and sneezy lately (she lost her cagemate to cancer last month, and has recently got a new companion) The vet has given me antibiotics to put in her water but it doesn't seem to be helping. I'm worried about her ...

Her late cagemate had been sniffly and sneezy about 6 weeks before she died, but it seemed to clear up, just before she was diagnosed with cancer. Could there be a connection or am I overreacting?
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Re: Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by Catz on Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:43 am

What kind of bedding do you use? Sawdust and some wood shavings can cause respitory issues... or have you changed the detergents you use for washing clothes and bedding recently?
Stress can bring on the sniffles but it could be something else Smile
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Re: Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by GillianK on Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:51 am

TY for your reply. :-) I used wood based cat litter on the flooring, and they like cotton wool and tissue paper in their bed. Blanche tears it up and arranges it in her bed. Its been her thing since I got her 16 months ago, but she is often out running around my bed and the sofa. Not changed detergents. Might take her back to vet to get injectable antibiotic, as Dorothy (her companion) keeps taking the water (with the antibiotics in) Just hoping it's not something serious. Very attached to Blanche.
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Re: Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by Zoundz on Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:05 am

OK. Firstly scrap the cotton wool. Won't be causing the sniffles, but it's not good for other reasons, such as potential for being ingested and/or wrapping itself around limbs and causing damage.

Woodshavings don't cause respiratory trouble, in fact, they don't cause any trouble. It's a commonly perpetuated myth brought about by a very spurious study years ago.

She won't be improving with the antibiotics because of the fact that she's not getting the right dose at the right times. Even if it is something that the antibiotic you're using would actually fix, administering it in water just doesn't work. I can't understand why vets do this! Much easier to administer it in a small bit of food which masks the flavour, or if liquid form just squirting it into the side of their mouth.

I would still say stress is the most likely cause in this case. Is she well in herself or is she under the weather as well?

xx

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Re: Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by redrach on Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:12 am

Mine are a bit sniffly at the minute too.
Most common thing, if she's looking okay otherwise, is just stress.
Does she have any other symptoms?
I don't usually bother with a vet unless the symptom is persistant for a few days or if there are any behavioural changes or other symptoms such as puffing up, not cleaning, excess poyrph, sleeping more, distancing itself from other rats/me etc.

Hope she's better soon.
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Hi

Post by GillianK on Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:17 am

Yes, she is running around, eating (although maybe less than normal) and drinking, and bullying Dorothy! In fact both are running around now as I type, but I keep hearing little sneezes (and they are productive sneezes) from Blanche. Its been going on over a week now. She seems to be losing condition in her coat but I'm not sure if that's just me being paranoid. I guess I'm just worried as Stella went from a healthy plump rat (yes I probably overfeed!!!) to skin and bones in a matter of a week. When she was taken in to be put to sleep, vet said he felt a lump on her, so he was pretty sure it was cancer, but she had exactly the same symptoms as Blanche has now a few weeks before she died. :-(

I'll take away cotton wool, and arrange for vet to give her antibiotics in another way. Vet says there's not much else he could do for a rat other than antibiotics, regardless of what it is affecting her due to her small size. :-(
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Re: Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by redrach on Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:39 am

Do you see a rat-specialist vet? If not you should perhaps look for an exotics vet who will know more about small animals.

If you're worried about weight you could try weighing her every few days.
Some of my oldies are losing weight now, so I feed them an extra meal in the evening of cous cous or baby food, malt paste, etc.
There are also some vitamin & mineral thingies you can get to help them in that regard, senior aid is a good one for when they start looking their age, and if you don't already use it, daily essentials (dr squiggles) is good for all ages and can be added to their water a few times a week.
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Re: Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by smokierat on Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:59 pm

I would look around for a different vet if possible,very wary of one who would recommend antib in the drinking water Meh And everything else everyone has already said Smile a multivitamin certainly wouldnt hurt..Just watch general condition,its good apetite isnt affected if you do need to hide some meds theres lots of foods you could try.

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Re: Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by bikerwitch on Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:08 pm

My Little guys are sneezing a little i heard its quite common in rats i do keep an eye on their breathing making sure that there is no change in it. if that happens its to the vet straight away. we use paper Cat litter it seems to be the best stuff so far that we have used. its called Breeder Celect made from recycled paper Smile. we also give them a box of tissues that they like to rip apart to make their own nests.
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Re: Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by Zoundz on Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:55 pm

Get a new vet. Seriously - your vet is really not at all knowledgeable! Sad Antibiotics needed for your girl - a good strong course in a reasonably high dose. I would say poor Stella died of Pneumonia, not cancer. If there were no lumps etc that were visible to you, it was not lumps that killed her. Internal cancers are quite rare, and you cannot know about them without x-rays and/or post mortems. I would say, if her symptoms were the same as poor Blanche, she had a respiratory infection which caused a secondary infection of Pneumonia. My guess is that they are prone to suffering from Mycoplasma pulmonis.

I would proceed with finding a new vet as quickly as possible (asking if they have small animal - specifically rodent - experience first), and tell them what you think it could be, and that you would like a combination of Baytril and Doxycycline. At the very least you want baytril at 2.5% at 0.15ml twice a day. If you can get a combination of Baytril and Doxycycline - you want the Doxy at 5mg per kg twice a day. I would cut tablets yourself, not let your vet do it - to be sure that you're using the right amount. Check back with me if you do get the Doxy tablets, as I want to be sure of the dosage for you - much depends on the tablets used.

These two drugs *must* be given separately - Doxy an hour after the Baytril. Do NOT give Doxy with dairy produce of any type as it renders it inactive!

If you need any more help at all - just grab me. Smile

xx

ETA - please remember that many vets do not know a lot about rats - if the vet disagrees with the advice above, firmly let them know that many/most rat illnesses have built up quite a resistance to antibiotics over the years, so dosages need to be higher. If they really won't budge, go to another vet, or tell them to contact us about it. Also - don't settle for a baytril jab - they can cause painful burns if done poorly, and again it's hard for you to tell what the vet is dosing. If she looks really rough, get a jab by all means as it does get into the system more quickly. However, do not let the vet tell you that it will last for 3-5 days or more! It WON'T The rat will need oral baytril the next day. If they must do a jab - then it should be 20mg per kg for a day's worth. SMALLEST INSULIN SYRINGE possible to avoid burn.

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Re: Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by GillianK on Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:01 am

That's the difficulty with where I'm from. The vet I go to is the best in my area. I've tried the other vets and they aren't as good. But I'll continue looking. I rang again and they want Blanche in this evening to inject her with antibiotics this time. So I'm taking her in at 6. :-( She's not going to like this one bit, poor wee mite. But if I do nothing, she could die.

I'm gonna print out your advise and bring it in with me, if that's ok.
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Re: Sniffly sneezy rat

Post by Zoundz on Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:06 am

Absolutely. Also - perhaps look at www.ratguide.com - look up pneumonia and mycoplasma pulmonis on there, and print that out too. I really do advise against injections unless they are going to allow you to continue doing fed antibiotics immediately after!

xx

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